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back to article Valve chief confirms Steam-centric console-killing PC

Expect to see a Steam-brand console-style living room PC in 2013, Gabe Newell, the head of Valve, has revealed. There have been hints the company is working on such a box. The debut earlier this year of a TV-centric UI for the Steam client, called Big Picture, which came out of beta last week, is perhaps the most important one …

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I love the keyboard and mouse

This could be good for the industry. So long as I can continue playing computer games on my PC using Steam, and they won't be more consolified (than they already are).

I can envisage a world where many vendors make "Steam boxes" running various Linux distros and with differing hardware at differing prices, opening up more choices, and the hardcore people still being allowed to play on their custom-built PCs.

Unfortunately I can also see a dystopian future in which Valve sees the console market as the most lucrative way to go and abandons the PC in a similar way to Microsoft after XBox or Epic. I'm sure that won't happen, but I still feel like an endangered breed being kept alive mainly by Steam and GOG.com, and anything that slightly threatens that worries me.

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Anonymous Coward

They say linux but...

they mean android, Gaben has already been moving to sell gamers personal information for some time.

The ingame web interface opens google as homepage already and for anyone who doesnt understand Valve's marketting philosophy take the time to read the T&C http://store.steampowered.com/subscriber_agreement/

So basically you pay Valve to sell information about you and you have no rights to anything, so they get someone to knock up what is basically a tablet without a touch screen hardly a giant leap forward when they have already ported windows games to the apple.

What was interesting, when they did the porting, was that many steam customers lost the abiliity to run their games on the kit they already owned, the only answer from Valve to upgrade their kit or not play. So buy your games for the Gabenator mk1 and expect them not to work when the mk2 comes out.

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Re: They say linux but...

"What was interesting, when they did the porting, was that many steam customers lost the abiliity to run their games on the kit they already owned, the only answer from Valve to upgrade their kit or not play. So buy your games for the Gabenator mk1 and expect them not to work when the mk2 comes out."

I've not heard about this! Not flaming, genuine interest, you have any links available?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: They say linux but...

I would say google

"steampowered "mac users" broken "orange box" directx7 "force upgrade""

However unsurprisingly google no longer yields any results but altavista does.

In essence Valve rewrote the original HL2 pack so it would work on the mac and in the process removed hl2,CSS, etc from anyone unwilling to upgrade to directx8 and the new hardware specification.

Valve's answer of the time was that they were moving to directx8 and the orange box engine as directx7 was easy to implement wall hacking ( changing the opacity of the textures so you can see all players even when they should be obscured by walls etc.)

Many people complained at the time especially laptop users who lost the ability to run an old game on old hardware, no option was provided not to upgrade and complaints fell on deaf ears.

Those that were able to run the game under directx8 complained of a massive performance drop after the "upgrade", I would say because of the additional layers of abstraction required to run a single image under IOS and windows.

Also many server operators lost money due to being unable to lease their servers out, this as the new build was both unstable and had broken all the community mods that had previously been working

So it is clear to me that Gaben is more than willing to move the goal posts on a game's hardware requirements and present this as progress, even when no additional content is added.

If you look at the number of CSS gamers and servers before and since the Orange box engine change it is plain that the old PC gamers had been written off so Valve could provide a "community and servers" for their new market( IOS ).

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Re: They say linux but...

> Those that were able to run the game under directx8 complained of a massive performance drop after the "upgrade", I would say because of the additional layers of abstraction required to run a single image under IOS and windows.

Really? I didn't know hl2 ran on iphones. Your problems aside, that's impressive.

While I also dislike the forced upgrade approach, I would recommend upgrading your directx and probably your OS too.

On the plus side, opengl tends to move more slowly than directx (IIRC, openGL: all features are guaranteed, but they might be running in software, vs directx: not all features are guaranteed)

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Go

Soon as I saw the big picture, I was thinking 'droid consoles

I'm happy to see I was right! Well, maybe not with the Android bit, but Linux at least.

It's the only way forward. Consoles stagnate too much, and there is too much of a barrier between them (Xbox can only play with other Xboxes etc). They run ancient (in tech terms) hardware, and thus hold back development of true next-gen game engines as developers fret about their bottom line too much to not have it run on the old consoles.

Bring this shit on I say. Living room PC's are the way forward, whether you want to upgrade or not. Will be interesting to see how this develops and what the demand is for it.

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Anonymous Coward

Everytime you give money to Valve, a gnu dies

Valve is the first company to bring heavy-handed DRM to Linux. In fact, I don't think there's ever been any form of DRM on the platform at all across any field (games, software) aside from the serial key.

Now Valve will create a closed-down, Linux-based game console. How is this different to what Apple is doing with the Mac? Canonical is a company that, while it releases all its tools as open source (no exceptions, actually), it attempts to gain significant power over users by holding all their data and then selling it off to nice people like Amazon - the first people to create a filter bubble (they beat Google to it!).

So yeah. When you think Valve, don't think GNU/Linux, think Valve/Linux. There are locks everywhere, but only Valve has the keys.

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FAIL

So let me get this straight. Gabe is going to take his successful PC gaming platform and move it into the front room, where he expects me to sit with a keyboard and mouse on my lap? Or, for games that have controller support (e.g. recent X-COM), he is going to expect me to favour his new platform over, say, the XBox? What possible incentive is he going to give me to buy this thing?

And then on top of all that, you people think he's going to make it *Linux*-based??! You must think he really hates himself.

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You are missing something

I log into steam on my Steam box and play some games with the kids.. Once the kids are in bed I go up to the Den log onto Steam and see the same list of games.

Steam is DRM done right. In that as long as I can prove to the Steam servers I am the same person who bought the game I can down load it and play it any where I can get at the Steam client. This also means that as long as there is a version of the game for which ever OS I'm currently running, be that Windows, OSX or Linux I can play my game on that OS without having to buy a new version of the game.

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Anonymous Coward

The PS3 runs a FreeBSD fork with OpenGL ES. Why is a console running Linux and OpenGL such a horrendous idea?

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Re: You are missing something

> Windows, OSX or Linux I can play my game on that OS without having to buy a new version of the game.

Mostly, Defensegrid is OS tied (and I think, windows only on Steam),

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Re: You are missing something

Defensegrid and other games aren't "OS tied" - they're only written to run on that OS. It's an utterly different thing.

Steam Play games = buy a game once, play on all of Windows/Linux/Mac that they'll run on.

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Re: You are missing something

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/defense-grid/id410823436?mt=12

Though admittedly, I think it was developed by a different company than the original.

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Do not want

That is all. I do not want or need another console. I certainly don't want to develop for another platform.

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Re: Do not want

Well good for you. I want very much, anything that will help get more games on Linux and eventually let me dump Windows entirely.

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Shirley it would be madness to put windows on such a box.

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Windows

I don't want to use bloody Linux

After being an ex Linux Admin, tried pretty much every distro ... I settled back on Windows as my OS of choice. I don't want to use linux with all it fragmentation between distros, libraries and all sorts of other crap that tend to break, I can't be bothered with it anymore.

Windows 8 works perfectly fine, the chap that reckons he was having problems is either lying or shouldn't be anywhere near a computer. Every game that has worked with a version of Windows NT has quite happily worked with Windows 8 so far, I even install Alien vs Predator 2, Unreal Tournament and even the original Unreal.

Games that need Admin rights are trying to save to the Program Files directory than in My Documents as they should.

Lets see how much money Valve can throw at beating not on Windows, but Xbox and PS3 for their Steambox to become reality.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I don't want to use bloody Linux

Some of the games on my system that worked on Windows 7 that no longer work on Windows 8:

Bio Shock 2

Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Lost Planet 2

Unreal Tournament 2004

(as reported by Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant).

That's just the games.

The total list ran to 31 items.

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Re: I don't want to use bloody Linux

Indeed, upgrades on linux are generally less disruptive than windows upgrades.

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Re: I don't want to use bloody Linux

Errr, talking of FUD . . .

The list Windows 8 produces is a list of software which *may* not work and/or which may require to be re-installed. It is not a list of software which *wont* work.

Of your list, I have CoD4, UT2004 and Bioshock 2 (the latter through Steam), all working . . .

Please commence the obligatory down-voting.

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Vic
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Re: I don't want to use bloody Linux

> tried pretty much every distro

No you haven't.

I've been doing this professionally for 12 years now, and I've barely scratched the surface. There are an awful lot of distros out there.

The nice thing is that, once you've found your way around apt and yum, it's pretty easy to work with any of them. Except perhaps LFS...

Vic.

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Re: I don't want to use bloody Linux

Windows is a piece of shit, but it's not as fragmented as the Linux distros. It's like Obama vs Romney.

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PC?

Of course the IBM compatible PC is known for MSwindows, but it's also the basis of Xbox.

I'd have thought the obvious thing was for them to do another locked down PC based platform. Whether that's Linux as we understand it is proabably quite questionable. Rather like Android ......

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Linux

Sorry, you are all wrong.

Steam Pipe.

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er.. times ten Million

Portal oh yes..

And the flavour of Linux, branched naturally er GLadux, an aperture logo (animated) on startup...

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Go

When Steam goes to GNU/Linux I will get rid of Windows. The only reason I run Windows is for my games. Once that is gone, so am I.

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Anonymous Coward

What was the name of that console system

That was supposed to be a console and PC killer, maybe 10-15 years ago? Some shady company in Florida, took some capital and went tango uniform?

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Re: What was the name of that console system

The Phantom? That was almost ten years ago now. Based on a quick Google-powered memory refresh it sounds like they made a genuine attempt, showing prototypes and hiring ex-Microsoft staff from the DirectX and XBox teams, but seemed to have only the loosest possible plan for delivery.

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Re: What was the name of that console system

Steam definitely has the means, and an established path which is much more than Phantom (thanks whoever reminded me) had. They have a good DRM model. Not like Phantom. It's a matter of getting the developers to work on that common denominator.

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Not Likely

Not sure the point of this idea at all. Consoles are already computers in the living room, designed the way console gamers like and offer downloadable games, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Plus (or whatever video content your particular country has to offer). All this project will do is add another XBox (which is already just a PC with a console interface) to the mix and unless it costs less than $300 it will fall flat on its arse.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not Likely

It costs developers a total of $40,000 to release a single patch on Xbox Live, making it a difficult platform for smaller developers to grow on. Steam is far more developer friendly (e.g. Project Greenlight).

Once the Steam Box/Steam Engine/Companion Cube whatever is crammed with Indie games, and even just a startup handful of AAA titles, it should become self sustaining.

Developers will publish games for it if only to exert pressure on MS to lower their ridiculous charges.

Of course, MS will no doubt find ways to retaliate, but Valve has a decent war chest. According to a recent article from Forbes, Valve is worth an estimated $2-4 Billion.

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Linux

Windows Killer

This is excellent news. Games jumping on board with Steambox support, will automatically support GNU/Linux by association. That there is a Windows killer!

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Paris Hilton

Linux flavours?

Excuse the terribly ignorant & non-techy person's stupid question, but i thought there were many different "flavours" of linux out there, all of which are on their own upgrade paths etc? I'm sure someone once told me that the reason the games company they worked for didn't do a Linux versionof their best selling game because though OSX and Windows upgraded there tended to be only one or two versions being supported (and therefore ptached) at a time and that new releases (e.g. Win8) were comparatively rare. On the other hand there are many different distros of Linux and each would have to have it's own port - not as in depth as the porting from Win to OSX for example, but still a significant effort in the tweaking to fit each flavour - so a "port to Linux" was many times the effort as a port to one of the other common operating systems. Now this person may well have been bullshitting me, using it as an excuse for why their company didn't do the ports and relying on my ignorance so i couldn't pick up on that, but I would love to have one of you smart technically minded guys explain in words of no more than 3 syllables and fewer than 20 3 letter acronyms whether that's the case or not, & why it isn't a problem.

Of course this wouldn't be an issue with a Steam console as that would be only the one flavour on a standard upgrade/patch path, but it would spoil the hopes of all the guys wanting to run their games on their usual PCs that run on linux. Dumb blonde icon as I'm probably being a bit thick.

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Thumb Up

Re: Linux flavours?

Thank you Eadon, info much appreciated. So in summary same kernel & stable APIs, and i know enough to realise that's the important part :)

And thanks for not making elitist comments suggesting that only a total idiot wouldn't know this!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Linux flavours?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/12/12/linux_no_longer_runs_on_386_cpus/

course it is. 99.99% backwards compatible. course it is.

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Anonymous Coward

The crucial flaw in the cunning plan...

...is that Steam is utterly, utterly crap

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Re: The crucial flaw in the cunning plan...

??? What a very curious person you are masked stranger.

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Devil

Re: The crucial flaw in the cunning plan...

AAhhh the resident EA representative awakens.

HOW'S THINGS, EA? WILL ORIGIN BE IN MY LOUNGE ANYTIME SOON?

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